He is Who we Thought he is

with apologies to Dennis Green…

Brian Rathbun, of Duck of Minerva, has posted an explanation for why he pulled his postIntellectual Jailbait: Hunting for Underage Ideas at APSA,” which included this image and caption:

Excuse me, miss? I think you dropped your APSR.

I got that cached link this morning via an unsolicited FB message from an untenured professor, and earlier this evening a different untenured professor sent me a FB message asking whether I was

going to attack that Rathburn reply? its bullshit, reads to me like “sorry you couldn’t take joke and you all are too stupid to get my real point.” Similar to the response when someone is accused of racism.

If you read the comments on Rathbun’s explanatory post you will see others expressing the type of reaction I found in my FB message box.  So I will offer somewhat different reaction (though I have to highlight, without comment, this: “I will never truly understand what it is like to be a woman in this field. Therefore it is up to women to tell me”).

Rathbun thinks he is funny.  For example, he writes in his explanation post “I try to use humor to get my points across”  and in a 2011 post he writes “When I’m not funny, I blog angry.”

I confess I do not follow the Duck closely, and I was unfamiliar with Rathbun’s posts prior to today.  But as someone who blogs I recognize that bloggers try to establish a style or voice, and as odd (and offensive) as I found the image he chose for his “Intellectual Jailbait” post (yes, I am side stepping the offensiveness of that title), so I decided to check out his other posts at The Duck.  Hence the title of this post.  Please take a look and make your own judgment.

A piece titled “Meet Professor Brian Rathbun,” “(a.k.a. The Rath)” describes his posts at The Duck as “mostly pieces satirizing the IR profession.”  To display his satiric wit he has created a series titled The Canard, which carries the tagline “All the fake news that’s fit to print.”  Here are several of the images he has posted in that series (with the title of the post below the image):

Nation’s international relations reference librarians despondent as Game of Thrones returns

Cat Fancy, Parent Company of Duck of Minerva, Subject of Takeover Bid by Nerd Pornography Site

International Relations Fetish on the Rise

Caption under pic: “The valets at the Kinchasa Hilton will be happy to take your bags”
Title of post: For First Time APSA Annual Convention to be Held in Africa

Huh.  My favorite feature in Ms. Magazine is their “No Comment” series (awesome archive here).  I will steal their idea.

In closing, I offer an observation: the posts of Rathbun’s that I viewed had few, and many had zero, FB, Twitter, or Google+ shares.  I don’t know what the median and modal figures are for those at The Duck, but the folks who operate The Duck may want to check.   I certainly believe that Rathbun finds his post funny, and I have no objection whatever to self-stimulation, an activity in which I partake.  But I can’t help but wondering whether Professor Rathbun  is pleasing himself in public, and if The Duck might be better off inviting him to do so in private.


About Will H. Moore

I am a political science professor who also contributes to Political Violence @ a Glance and sometimes to Mobilizing Ideas . Twitter: @WilHMoo
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